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Anna Mitchell-Hedges has been associated with one of the most famous, or perhaps infamous, crystal skulls in the annals of archaeological history.

An orphan from Ontario, Canada, Anna was adopted at ten years of age by British adventurer Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges. He is said to have been a friend of Anna’s mother. From then on Anna accompanied the explorer on expeditions to many exotic locales. On one such adventure in Central America, while exploring the Mayan ruins at Lubaantun, Anna claimed to have found the Mitchell-Hedges Skull. The crystal artifact resembles a human skull down to the finest detail, even having a detachable jaw. The latter was missing when Anna first found it, but some months later she supposedly discovered it lying in the dust, not far from her initial discovery.

The skull is made of clear quartz crystal, weighs close to 12 pounds and stands 5 inches high, 5 inches wide and 7 long. Most researchers who have examined the skull agree that by today’s standards in technology, and by the exhaustive tests they’ve conducted, that the skull simply shouldn’t exist. Here’s why. The skull was carved against the natural axis of the crystal, meaning, it was shaped against the grain. Even if its creator(s) had used laser technology the skull would very likely have shattered.

And because not a single scratch was found on the skull’s surface, the most promising hypothesis is that it was first carved into a rough composite using diamonds. The finer detail work was then done using a weak solution of silicon and water. This however, is a time consuming process, and one that could well have taken many lifetimes to complete -- experts think around 300 years.

The next question is, what purpose did the skull have? Anna claimed she knew. The skull was used as a conduit in a “willing death” ceremony where the wisdom and knowledge of a dying “elder” was transferred, via the crystal skull, into a young recipient. Once the ceremony was complete, the elder proceeded into a peaceful death.

Other more ‘scientific’ theories have been presented: that the skull is a “psychic” conduit to another world and a higher level of knowledge, that it transforms “life energy” into electromagnetic energy, which aids in healing and that can even be as an amplifier or earth energy.

People who have been exposed to the crystal skull, even for a short time, have said that it changes color, or that actual scenes are visible through the skull’s eye sockets. Others swear they’ve heard sounds coming from inside it, or that auras have surrounded it that sometimes lasted a few minutes. Of course, for all the stories F.A. Mitchell-Hedges and even Anna herself have spread about their skull and its shadowed origins, there are an equal number of detractors. Records say that F.A. actually purchased the skull at an auction in London. And that the explorer planted the skull in the Mayan temple at Lubaantun as a 17th birthday gift for Anna. People who knew Mitchell-Hedges labelled him as man with an active imagination and one who frequently embellished his tales of adventure and derring-do. He regularly referred to Anna’s find as “The Skull of Doom”, saying he could will death upon others using it. No scientific proof exists to prove Mitchell-Hedges claim, however.

The Mitchell-Hedges Skull remains shrouded in mystery and remains the stuff of continued argument and speculation. And Anna Mitchell-Hedges will always be known as its staunchest guardian and keeper of the crystal skull’s many unanswered secrets.